The Peranakan Museum is a fascinating storehouse of artefacts related to the Peranakan people who formerly inhabited the Straits Settlements, highlighting their culture and heritage. Identified as a boutique museum, it possesses the richest and most extensive compilation of items relating to the Peranakans on the globe. Permanent galleries occupy three storeys, illustrating significant practices, rituals and other aspects of Peranakan culture.
Visiting the museum is a memorable excursion for all, regardless of age or nationality. Elaborate displays are cleverly exhibited in ten galleries, with interactive exhibits for children. Two galleries are used for special temporary exhibitions which are displayed for limited periods. Highlights of the museum collection include a reproduction of the magnificent altar from the expansive mansion of one of the richest hereditary Peranakan families of Singapore. Another key attraction is the collection of exotic jewellery, silver and porcelain in the Peranakan tradition dating to the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Peranakans are a hybrid people who evolved over the years. The treasures of Southeast Asia have attracted foreign traders for centuries, and some of them began new lives in the region, marrying local women. This is the primary situation behind the creation of the Peranakan people.
The Peranakan Indians, known as Chitty Melaka are the result of intermarriage between South Indian traders and women of the locality. Meanwhile the Peranakan Chinese are descendents of Chinese merchants who came to live in Malacca and the coasts of Sumatra and Java. The Jawi Peranakans are descended from unions between South Indian Muslim merchants and women of the region.
The Peranakan Museum is housed in an imposing historic building which formerly functioned as the premises of the famed Tao Nan School. Comprehensive renovation and refurbishment work was conducted to make the site a suitable location for the museum. The grand appearance and expansive interiors of the building make it an ideal venue for the groundbreaking museum.
The museum is of great value not only to the Peranakan people but also the entire Singaporean community as a vital representation of their unique cultural heritage.
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